A prominent figure of Hindustani classical music, Padma Bhushan Annapurna Devi passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning in Mumbai. The singer was in her early nineties and was suffering from various health issues. A spokesperson of the Annapurna Devi Foundation in Mumbai said that she was suffering from age-related issues for the past few years. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief on Annapurna Devi’s demise. “Saddened at the passing away of Annapurna Devi, the founder of Maihar Gharana. My condolences to her family and admirers,” she tweeted.
Saddened at the passing away of Annapurna Devi, the founder of Maihar Gharana. My condolences to her family and admirers
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) October 13, 2018
‘Ma’, as she was popularly addressed, Annapurna Devi was born in Madhya Pradesh’s Maihar town to Ustad ‘Baba’ Allauddin Khan and Madina Begum. She was the youngest of four children, the spokesperson said.
The musician was a disciple of her father whose inestimable contribution to Indian music resulted in the Senia-Maihar gharana. She started training at the age of five and later graduated from the sitar to her chosen instrument, the surbahar.
RIP Roshanara Khan, better known as Annapurna Devi. The surbahar maestro, married to Ravi Shankar for 21 years who stopped performing publicly to save her marriage. The film Abhimaan was probably based on their marriage. pic.twitter.com/WtppfhCTr1
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) October 13, 2018
Annapurna Devi was married to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and had a son, Shubhendra ‘Shubho’ Shankar, who passed away in 1992. She later married Rooshikumar Pandya, a management consultant. Pandya passed away in 2013.
She also contributed to music by teaching small groups of students. Some of her students include Aashish Khan (sarod), Amit Bhattacharya (sarod), Bahadur Khan (sarod), Basant Kabra (sarod), Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri), Jotin Bhattacharya (sarod), Nikhil Banerjee (sitar), Nityanand Haldipur (bansuri), Peter Klatt (sitar), Pradeep Barot (sarod), Sandhya Phadke (sitar), Saswatti Saha (sitar), Sudhir Phadke (sitar), Suresh Vyas (sarod), the spokesperson said.